ST. PAUL – For the second time in less than one month, Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, has co-signed a bipartisan letter to Gov. Tim Walz, urging him to support the Line 3 replacement pipeline project, and to drop state-backed legal challenges to the unanimous decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to grant the certificate of need for the project.
On Friday, he was among 76 legislators from the Minnesota House and Senate who sent a bipartisan letter to Walz. The letter was penned after the Minnesota Court of Appeals decided earlier this week to dismiss appeals from various environmental groups and the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
As a result, the Walz administration must decide whether to re-file a petition for reconsideration, the first step toward any potential appeal. That decision must be made by Tuesday.
“Our new governor can do the right thing and make a clean break from our previous governor’s last-minute attempt to sabotage the unanimous decision by the PUC approving replacement of this aging pipeline,” Lueck said. “The original court appeal was filed in the very last days of Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration. Today, the decision to continue using the courts to obstruct carrying out this badly needed project rests with Gov. Walz.
“This is the first real test of what kind of leader this governor is. After years of intensive environmental review and exhaustive public input will he abide by the PUC’s decision, or will he allow his own Department of Commerce to continue to obstruct the replacement of this aging pipeline?”
Lueck said he has spent the last month “quietly trying to work with the governor’s office, urging that it step back from interfering with replacement of Line 3.” It started with a Jan. 15 letter from Lueck and 13 of his northern Minnesota colleagues requesting that Walz and his administration withdraw from any further participation in the Line 3 law suit.
“It is decision time for Gov. Walz. After years of intensive environmental review and exhaustive public input the question is will our new governor abide by the PUC’s decision, or will he allow one of his state agencies to continue attempting to obstruct the replacement of this aging pipeline? We are all waiting for an answer.”